Although the desire for positive results is present in all, the willingness to commit escapes many.
One of the reasons we fail at this is because we don’t want to experience the stress of regretting our promises.
We all know the experience of promising someone, on a Monday, that we’ll attend some event that’s scheduled to take place on a Saturday. When we made the promise on Monday, we were in a good mood and foresaw no real obstacles to keeping our word. But on Friday we ended up staying awake really late and when Saturday rolled around, we were exhausted. To make matters worse, our fatigue made us vulnerable and we felt a little under the weather. At that point, keeping our committment was the last thing we wanted to do and we felt angry at ourselves for ever saying “I’ll be there.”
The above scenario, or something like it, is what most of us are trying to avoid when we hesitate to commit; we review some kind of hypothetical situation in which we’d regret our promises and we choose to “protect” ourselves by saying “I’ll try” or “Let’s see what happens”, which usually results in things not getting done.
Many dreams go unfulfilled simply because we’re afraid Aunt Betty might come to town on that weekend and we wouldn’t want to be rudely unavailable. And since there is always some version of the “Aunt Betty might come to town” scenario at play in our lives, our deepest desires just keep getting put on the back burner.
Now, here’s the kicker:
Although we routinely “cop out” out of making strong commitments to our ideals (ie. Losing weight, exercising more, quitting smoking, eating healthier, learning piano, writing that book, getting married, etc), we willingly endure high levels of stress and discomfort on an almost daily basis in order to keep commitments to activities that we don’t even feel passionate about.
When the morning alarm goes off at 5am, we curse the clock AND we get up anyway because “it’s time to make the doughnuts” and we have mouths to feed. We don’t say “I’m pooped”, even though we feel that way. We’re committed. We’re all in.
Even when Aunt Betty comes to town, we have no problem telling her “I can’t wait to see you AFTER I get off work.”
Some of us will turn down our families for Thanksgiving dinner AND Christmas because of our jobs, BUT we’ll hesitate to lock in a few hours for a creative project because we fear we might be tired that day or we’re concerned about missing out on some POTENTIAL weekend fun.
In the War of Art, Steven Pressfield argues that more people would succeed if they treated their passion like their jobs.
Most of us will show up to our places of employment and we’ll do the work whether we feel like it or not. Even if we have to “mail it in” by merely going through the motions and only giving a half-ass effort, we get something done. But when it comes to our artwork, our dreams, our personal priorities, we only move a finger when we feel inspired.
Could this explain why most of us are far more competent, confident, and successful in our jobs than in our areas of passion?
Here’s Today’s Two Cents:
Progress can’t be made in any endeavor without making a commitment to consistently flowing energy at your goals. You have to be willing to endure the “regret” of making promises to yourself that are difficult and inconvenient to keep.
Whether your goal is to simply feel happy or to successfully manifest a dream, you’re not going to FEEL like doing ANYTHING all the time.
You wont feel like meditating every day. You wont feel like thinking healthy thoughts everyday. You wont feel like being passionate everyday. You wont feel like being a dreamer everyday. You wont feel like doing the things you love everyday.
Committment is the art of deciding, ahead of time, what you’re going to do on THOSE days.
You’ve already made lots of commitments to others.
What commitments are you making to yourself?
What’s on your list of things that are stopping you?